If you finally made up your mind and bought a Chromebook, you may find that it’s not an easy transition, especially if you’ve been a regular user of Windows products. in general, you will miss some of the functions of the Microsoft system, although everything has a solution, even easier than you think. We explain in detail how to install Windows on a Chromebook .
Already installing Windows 10 on a Chromebook has been difficult and the end result may not be the best. For starters, manufacturers select specific components that complement Google’s lightweight, web-focused operating system.
Most mainstream models have less than 64GB of space, around 4GB of memory, and no dedicated graphics chips. Also, both Google and Microsoft do not support running Windows 10 or later on Chromebook-centric hardware.
This means that you may not be able to find Microsoft-certified drivers and may need to turn to possible third-party solutions. However, the biggest issue regarding Windows 10 on Chromebooks is the installation process for Microsoft’s platform.
Most Chromebooks include a write-protect screw on the motherboard that prevents you from installing any operating system. To install Windows 10, you’ll need to remove the bottom case, remove the motherboard screw, and then flash the new firmware.
Finally, your Chromebook may not even have the hardware to support Windows 10. To determine if your Chromebook is compatible, check CoolStar’s listing. With all this in mind, it’s worth considering the alternatives later in this article if you don’t want to completely hack your Chromebook.
However, if you still want to learn how to install Windows on a Chromebook, keep reading.
Before you jump into this adventure, there are a few important things to keep in mind to get Windows working on your Chromebook. As always (and most importantly), if you have problems with your operating system, the firmware and BIOS can have serious effects on your system. You will (should!) want to back up any important data on your computer before you begin.
If something happens and you can’t use your Chromebook, you can use a USB drive from another computer to try to recover your system. However, this will erase all your data, so be sure to back up anything not saved to Google Drive.
How to install Windows 10 on a Chromebook
First, you will need the following tools:
- A screwdriver.
- A USB drive for Windows 10 installation media.
- A USB drive to back up the Chromebook firmware and store downloaded drivers.
- A second computer to create the Windows 10 USB installation drive and download the drivers.
- A USB based keyboard and mouse.
Next, search online for the exact location of the write-protect screw on your specific model of Chromebook.
Step 1 – Hold down the power button until the Chromebook turns off.
Step 2 – Flip the Chromebook over and remove the bottom cover.
Step 3 – Locate and remove the write protect screw.
Step 4 – Put the bottom case back on the Chromebook and plug in the power adapter.
Step 5 – Press the Esc + Refresh + Power buttons to turn the Chromebook into recovery mode.
Step 6 – When the screen says “ Chrome OS is missing or corrupted ”, press the Ctrl + D keys .
Step 7 – Hit the Enter key to turn off OS verification.
Step 8 – The Chromebook should reboot into developer mode. When the screen says “ OS verification is disabled ”, press the Ctrl + D keys to launch Chrome OS.
Step 9 – After booting into Chrome OS, press the Ctrl + Alt + T keys simultaneously. This opens the Terminal.
Step 10 – Type shell and hit the Enter key .
Step 11 – Type the following command and hit the Enter key to download and run a script file with root privileges:
cd; curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh
Step 12 – Type 3 and hit the Enter key . This selects the Install/Update Full ROM Firmware option .
Step 13 : Select Y/Y to continue.
Step 14 – Type U to install the UEFI firmware.
Step 15 – Insert a USB drive to create a backup of your current Chromebook firmware.
Step 16 – Shut down the Chromebook after the new Windows-compatible firmware is installed.
Step 17 – Go to your second computer and follow the instructions in our article: How to download Windows 10 ISO and install from here. Basically, you use another USB stick to create a bootable drive that will install Windows 10 on your Chromebook.
Step 18 – On your second computer, go to the CoolStar website to see which Windows-based drivers you’ll need to install on the Chromebook. Find and download them to the USB drive you previously used to back up your original Chromebook firmware.
Step 19 – Connect a mouse and keyboard to your Chromebook, and then install Windows 10 from the bootable USB drive.
Step 20 – Once Windows 10 is installed, remove the installer USB drive and insert the USB with the downloaded drivers and update accordingly.
Alternative 1: Use free apps from Microsoft
Here are the methods to get a hack-free, Windows-like experience without opening your Chromebook and installing new firmware.
If you’re primarily interested in accessing apps from within the Office suite and don’t really care about any of the other apps offered in Windows 10, this is the easiest option. You can do it directly from the Chrome browser.
Step 1 : start the Chrome browser and you will be visited by Microsoft.
Step 2 – Here you will see the selection of apps available for Office Online. Basically, Microsoft knows that certain basic applications are very important to professionals and students, so they want people to be able to access them from any operating system. This is why they put free online apps for options like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway, Mail, Calendar, OneDrive, and more.
Step 3 – Select the app(s) you want to use. A version will open in your Chrome browser and you can start using it. Keep in mind, however, that these online versions won’t have all the capabilities you’d get with something like Office 365. However, they should work for most of your purposes.
Alternative 2: Escritorio Remote Chrome door
Chrome Remote Desktop is software that simply allows you to access another desktop while using your Chromebook. Like something like a virtual machine, it will open a window showing a completely different operating system that you can use.
The key to this method, and the caveat, is that you need that second Windows 10 computer connected to the internet. That’s the only way this works.
Step 1 – With Chrome open on the Windows 10 computer, type the following into the address bar: remotedesktop.google.com/access
Step 2 – Click Download under Set Up Remote Access . This downloads and installs the host software.
Step 3 – Choose a PIN with six or more digits, and then click the blue Start button .
Step 4 – Wait for the Windows 10 computer to read “online”.
Step 5 – On the Chromebook, make sure they’re signed in to the same account and type the following address into Chrome: remotedesktop.google.com/access
Step 6 – Click on the shared Windows 10 computer shown under Remote Access .
Step 7 – Enter the PIN that you created on the Windows 10 machine and press the Enter key .
Step 8 – Since screen sharing isn’t ideal in the Chrome browser, click the square icon with the angled up arrow in the address bar to move the screen to the Chrome Remote Desktop app.
Step 9 – Click on the blue and white button hidden on the right (or left) edge of the app.
Step 10 – Make any necessary changes like selecting Full Screen , enabling clipboard optimization, and more.
You should now have remote access to your Windows 10 computer. You can move the cursor with the Chromebook’s trackpad and type on the keyboard as usual. On the Windows 10 computer, you’ll see a small pop-up window with a Stop Sharing button .
Note : This is a very good remote desktop application, but remote desktop solutions still have their details. They are highly dependent on internet connections and can sometimes experience delays. This works best if you have a high-speed connection between both computers.
Alternative 3: use CrossOver
CrossOver, by CodeWeavers, is a software solution that allows you to run applications from specific operating systems ( OSs ) on others. That includes running Windows software on your Chromebook. Due to the software requirements involved, CrossOver is not available to everyone.
Specifically, you can only run it on Intel processor-based Chromebooks. If you want to engage any Android device or app, it must be compatible with Android 5.x or later. Also, certain features like mouse lock (often used in FPS games) will not work.
CrossOver is not free. The full version currently costs $40 or you can pay $60 for 12 months of updates. If you have money, it will cost you $500 to get the software with lifetime updates. However, at that price, you might as well buy a Windows 10 computer.
This is what you should do:
Step 1 – Enable Linux by opening Chromebook settings and selecting Linux (beta). Follow the instructions on the screen.
Step 2 – Visit the CodeWeavers website and enter your name and email address to access the free trial.
Step 3 – Click the red Download Trial Now button . Chrome will retrieve a DEB file from the website and save it to your default download location.
Step 4 – Find and double-click the download and click the blue Install button .
Step 5 – Click the blue OK button to confirm. The application is installed through Linux.
Step 6 – Open the Installer followed by the CrossOver application . You will likely find it inside the Linux applications folder.
Step 7 – Click the Install Windows Software button .
Step 8 – A pop-up window appears. Click the Browse available apps link at the bottom to see what you can install. Alternatively, if you already have an installer, click the Select Installer tab .
Step 9 – In many cases, you can confirm the software you want, and CrossOver will start the installation process without any issues. Occasionally you may need to choose the correct file from a list to install it, so pay close attention to the file names and make sure you select the one you require. You may need to consent to license agreements and similar contracts at this time.
Step 10 – After the installation is complete, you should be able to launch it directly. Remember that large programs will take up significant space, which not all Chromebooks have. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to use Android apps on Chromebooks and save storage.
Alternative 4: the Project Campfire door by Google
We get the impression that Google was quick to embrace the idea of Windows-compatible Chromebooks several years ago. That connection would give users the chance to load and run Windows 10 via a dual-boot setup.
Chromebook users with an eye for code may have caught sneaky references to “Alt-OS” in Google Chrome OS code. “Project Campfire” promised to combine the two operating systems in one device.
Google reportedly stopped this project in 2019. We think Google may have shifted its efforts to perfect Android and Linux on Chrome OS. However, recent reports suggest that the project may not be dead after all.
Chrome in the Chromium repository Gerrit gives some pointers that Campfire is running on Eve, that’s Google’s nickname for the Pixelbook. That specific code actually refers to an “alternate OS mode”, similar to what we’ve seen before, and “HID for Eve Alt-OS sensors”.
One of the most notable features of Chrome OS is its excellent “resource-free” nature. Unfortunately, however, Windows 10 requires a lot more power to get up and running than any Chrome OS. So it’s likely that only high-end Chromebooks like the Pixelbook might have the capabilities to meet that OS’s requirements.